Business Productivity Tips
My dad has recently picked up studying Hebrew again after many years. My parents had spent 2 years on a Kibbutz where I was born, hence my name, Yael, which we always knew as meaning “mountain goat”. But he sent me an email the other day saying he found out something interesting, Yael is also a verb meaning “to make efficient”. So literally my name means efficiency! This was a pretty cool revelation as it suits my personality down to a T. I always try to find the quickest way to do things. I work in bursts get as much done as possible and then rest.
One of the things that’s a big focus for me at Mix Savvy is helping others to find the shortcuts to getting their marketing done hence these business productivity tips. I know it is a skill I possess but it is also so innate that trying to explain my processes and shortcuts is actually quite difficult. So here is an attempt!
In this particular post on business productivity tips I will explain my Top 10 hacks I use as general business and work practices to help me get stuff done as efficiently as possible.
This is the first of my business productivity tips. Oh how I love a good planning session. I could be blissfully lost for hours making to-do lists, allocating time and setting budgets. I know, total weirdo!
But this truly is my number 1 tool to getting things done. Now, here’s the thing – execution is not my strongest point (see point 4 for more on that) and things come up that get in the way of best laid plans (Sidenote: including some buffer time is also important). But the act of planning how what you need to do, when you can do it and how you can do it are highly important in helping you know that something is realistic and achievable!
Often we get so caught up in overwhelm and anxiety of what needs to be done to achieve our goals or work tasks. By planning things out we can see the big picture, we can see the first steps and we can feel more confident in getting things done.
This is the second of my business productivity tips. One of the best ways to get stuff done is to group similar tasks together. For example, with this blog I have different categories of tasks and I try to work within one category at any one time. These include “writing”, “editing”, “graphics”, “admin”, “social media” and “learning”.
A big benefit of working this way is not only being able to get your mind into one particular gear but also the ability to focus on a task that day that suits your mood. Sometimes I am definitely in a writing flow and other times it sounds like the last thing I want to do so I focus on another area instead.
This can also be applied to all areas of work and business life. A simple thing like clearing out as many emails as possible at once rather than bits at a time means it will get done quicker and you won’t be distracted.
This is the third of my business productivity tips. Ok nothing new here, but it still is important. It’s not good me getting into a “learning” frenzy for a week or two if nothing gets written! Or yes it’s great sitting on instagram for a few hours but if it comes at the expense of you actually focusing on your core business, priorities need to be addressed.
So when creating to-do lists I do encourage that you also give the tasks a priority whether it be “A”, “B”, “C” or simply “Do First” and “Do Later”.
If you are totally lost as to what you should be doing first since you don’t have a boss telling you what needs to be done, think about what will have the greatest impact on your business and focus on that first.
4. Know what Motivates You
This is the fourth of my business productivity tips. Gretchen Rubin in her book “Better than Before” about habit forming describes four different tendencies people have. Depending on your tendency you will be motivated by different things.
She’s also created a handy quiz on her website for you to know whether you are an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel. Click here to take it.
Personally I am an Obliger which means that I am brilliant at getting things done when I am accountable to someone else. If it’s something “just for me” it will also happen last.
Knowing this means I can create “accountability” to ensure I get things done. For example, I could sit here planning and procrastinating on all my business tasks if I just keep it to myself. But instead if I tell those close to me or I even say to my community that I will Launch on X Date or have a blog post come out every Tuesday then I’m going to do it!
This is the fifth of my business productivity tips. Getting into some of the more “practical” tips now and Scanning is the number one tool I use. Whenever I receive a long email, a report or an article to read I don’t read from beginning to end I always scan to determine a few things: What is the core message? Does it apply to me? Do I need to take action on this?
If it does apply or if it is important I then go back to the beginning. It sounds simple but it does suprise me how much time people waste reading every paragraph of a book even if it doesn’t apply to them.
6. Start at the End
This is the sixth of my business productivity tips. Similar to scanning, this point applies more to problem solving. Instead of going through all the motions to find a solution to a problem, start at the end.
Ask yourself: What is the problem here and what do I need to know or do to come to a resolution? Then throughout your analysis keep this in mind and keep asking this so you don’t get off track.
This is particularly valuable in meetings. For example when I run product strategy meetings at work, there are opinions of 8 or so people involved. Yes it is valuable to get as many opinions as possible but it is also very easy to go into tangents debating minor details that don’t focus on the big picture. It is also very easy to casually come to an agreement on something and move forward. These the moments you need to focus on and reconfirm to ensure everyone is on board so that at the end of the meeting you have a clear path forward.
If you start with the end in mind you know when to capture these moments and you know when to move on.
7. Do It Once
This is the seventh of my business productivity tips. This is something I am still learning and definitely need to improve on! Something the most successful people do is take the 10 minutes to create systems and automations in order to avoid doing 1 minute tasks over and over again.
A prime example is unsubscribing from emails or notifications. We call get them! A recent example of mine is first setting up Mix Savvy’s twitter account. Unless you take the extra steps to unsubscribe from email notifications you will keep getting them over and over. It’s easy to continually delete them and it’s more difficult to sign in, find the settings and make the changes. But once you do it once it’s done.
8. Clear Outs
This is the eighth of my business productivity tips. One thing I hear over and over again from time management experts is creating systems to never let your in-tray or in-box get too full. This wonderfully ambitious goal of a empty inbox! Well I’ll be honest I completely deviate from this and it works much better for me. Instead I “group” this task.
I find it so much more efficient to let my emails accumulate over a week or two (addressing any important ones) and then do a mass clean out. This might take 30 minutes on the clean out day but it also means I’m not spending 10 minutes every day doing it. In the end I think I come out on top. Same goes for mail and my desktop.
This might not be the way for everyone, some might find this too overwhelming but for me I find this works best.
9. Note Taking
This is the ninth of my business productivity tips. One of the biggest distractions from getting things done is all the other stuff that enters our head. We end up so caught up trying to to forget something that we can’t concentrate on the task at hand. Enter note-taking.
I do this in a variety of ways, whether it’s a notepad on my desk or sending myself a text message (use this one a lot for shopping lists!). Another brilliant tool is Evernote. It’s an application you can have on your computer and it sync’s to the cloud. So no matter whether you are on your computer, tablet, phone or event just browsing online you can access these notes. I use it all the time for writing ideas and setting goals. You can even take photos of things and upload them as a note.
It’s also a great repository for admin information like birthdays and addresses so you always have them on hand.
10. Get Inspiration
This is the tenth of my business productivity tips. Another hack is to know what inspires you. What really get’s you going. For me it is always learning something new so I try to consume as much as I can.
Writing is something I always struggle for motivation on but in order to get myself to do it, I love to listen to a podcast on the topic I intend on writing on. So for example I may play this while preparing breakfast and playing with my daughter in the mornings so that by the time I get in front of the computer I am brimming with ideas I need to get out onto the page.
So ask yourself what gets a fire going in your belly?
11. Good Enough
Ok, I know I said 10 points but I could not leave this one out! Yes it would be brilliant if we could always be perfectly put together, our websites with every little graphic detail in the correct place but unless you are a web design company this might not be worth you spending your time on getting perfect. Just get to good enough. Focus on the 20% that gets you 80% of the results and then leave that remaining 80% to be done if you get extra time crop up in future.
It is so much better to get something out there, imperfectly, that to not get it out at all.
So there you have it,
10 11 Tips to Getting Stuff Done.
What do you do that helps you get through your work efficiently? Let me know in the comments below!
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